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White House accused of picking media favourites
[WASHINGTON] US President Donald Trump's White House barred several major US media outlets from a daily press briefing Friday, raising accusations of favouritism.
The White House excluded some outlets that have provided critical coverage like CNN and the New York Times from an off-camera event that replaced the traditional on-camera daily briefing.
Much smaller conservative outlets like the One America News Network that have provided favourable coverage did attend.
Mr Trump earlier decried the media as the "enemy of the people," a day after his top strategist promised relations with the press will get "worse every day." Mr Trump's attacks on the media are popular with his core supporters.
A number of news outlets that regularly cover the White House as part of the "pool," including newswires Reuters and Bloomberg attended the briefing.
The Associated Press boycotted in protest. AFP protested being excluded, despite being in the "pool," and attended the briefing uninvited.
The White House Correspondents Association said it was "protesting strongly" against the White House decision.
"The board will be discussing this further with White House staff," said president Jeff Mason.
During the off-camera briefing Sean Spicer defended its stance, saying the White House has shown an "abundance of accessibility."
"We've actually gone above and beyond, with making ourselves, our team and our briefing room more accessible than probably any previous administration."
It is not uncommon for Republican and Democratic administrations to brief select reporters, but the event was initially billed as a regular briefing which is open to any media with credentials.